We all have to go to the doctor’s office. None of us like it, but I think it would be a little bit easier if we had some idea of how to get the most out of our trip to the doctor’s office.
We all get nervous about going to the doctors. For some, this can result in White Coat Syndrome. White Coat Hypertension is high blood pressure that may have something to do with nervousness or anxiety about going to the doctor’s office.
If you notice that your blood pressure readings at home are not as high as the doctor’s office you should mention this to your doctor.
We should treat going to the doctors as we would go to any other professional. If you needed to see a lawyer about making your will, you would have all the papers you needed. You would have thought about any questions you wanted to ask. So do the same at your doctors.
The Doctors Office
We go to the doctors and sit there in the waiting room waiting to be called to the examining room. Worrying and fretting, almost always kept waiting. Once we finally get to see the doctor and ask the first question we get a quick response, a prescription, possibly a requisition for blood work, and then the doctor stands up, then you stand up, and he leads you out the door. End of session. Never over the 15 minutes allotted. You may have had a few things to ask about but have forgotten what the most important thing was.
Do your part.
But going to the doctor is more than the doctor’s responsibility. You too need to do your part. They only have so much time.
- Be on time. I know you will probably have to wait after your appointment time but you cannot complain if you are late.
2. Know why you are going before you go. If you didn’t ask for the appointment, ask the receptionist why you need to go. That way you can prepare for what the concern might be.
3. Get yourself on a program that allows you to have a record of all your test results. It is so easy to forget what the results are and also when you last had them. If the doctor’s office is not helpful ask at a seniors center for help finding the program.
4. Bring only one or two main issues to talk about when you have your appointment.
5. Most importantly, make a list. Make it short and to the point. List the new symptoms if any and list the continuing symptoms not improved.
6. Try not to ramble. You don’t need to repeat your history unless this is a new doctor and even then make it the ‘Coles Notes’ version
7. Before you leave, repeat what you heard you are supposed to do and confirm you are correct. ie “So I am supposed to continue the antibiotic for 1 more week and then if the infection has not improved you want me to come back.” Write this down once the doctor has agreed that is the plan.
8. I am not sure if this is taught in medical school but, they rise from their desk when they are done, and open the door for you. You, then automatically walk out the door and there may have been one last thing to tell the doctor on the list but it is too late. So … Don’t get up. I know it’s hard but you need to be in charge of your health. You can say “I have one more short question before you go.”
It is very important to not waste your doctor’s time, so come prepared with the questions you want to be answered. Be concise. It is always helpful to practice out loud the questions you want to ask. This will allow you to hear if you are asking the question correctly.
It shouldn’t make a difference but the reality is that you want an appointment in the morning if possible. The doctors are fresher, less chance of a delayed appointment, and hopefully, you are fresher as well.
We all tend to put off our doctor’s appointment, but with these instructions, you should be fine.
So … go make the call this morning, get a check-up, and get on with your healthy life.